Yascai & Family PLC Ethiopia is set to inaugurate its made-in-Ethiopia ventilators as Ethiopia and much of the world is in dire need of such medical equipment in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company founded 21 years ago, also known as the biggest labeling glue business made out of organic products, is offering its new ventilators as substitutes to bringing them from abroad, as the country also faces FOREX shortages.
“We are getting into the production of ventilators to be able to help, serve the population and we intend to sell it at affordable prices,” the CEO of Yascai, Samuel Yitbarek told The Reporter. “As Ethiopia faces shortages of foreign exchange currencies, such products are and will be needed in the weeks and months to come.”
Earlier this week, US President Donald Trump announced on Twitter, following a phone call with his counterpart, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) of Ethiopia, how Ethiopia needs ventilators and that how his nation would help. For population of more than 100 million people, Ethiopia is said to have about four hundred ventilators.
Samuel is hopeful his locally produced ventilators would also relive some of the pressure for the country.
“It is designed to integrate software and hardware, and monitor patients’ on one screen and reduce contamination,” he said adding, “We will sell them at cost and will look for partners to produce more and ensure the products perform at top of their capabilities and help save lives. To us, as a company, that is our ultimate goal.”
According to the ECO, the product has been submitted to the testing of Ethiopian Food and Drug Administration (EFDA) which was unable to complete the testing due to lack of national medical equipment standard.
Up on requesting the standards from Ethiopia Standards Agency, which mostly composes of ISO guidelines, the EFDA resorted to the product fulfilling the minimum WHO requirement before going to mass production. According to Samuel, the ventilator is now close to fulfilling this requirement and said, “we are working fast to meet the WHO standard I short time span”.
He is also frank about the need to have the support of the authorities and political nod from the government, underscoring that “since if the product is to pass the regular rigor of testing and compliance up to the EU or other global standard it would take at least two years”.
As to the production, Samuel said he has already made contacts with Chinese and Swedish firms for possible manufacturing in Ethiopia within short span of time.
Yascai is known to have various business interests in Ethiopia, including in construction, real-estate, hospitality and coffee roasting and processing, among others.